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Community Leaders Urge USA to End Fossil Fuels & Deliver Environmental Justice – Oil Change International

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As the United States government delegation arrives in Dubai, UAE, for the UNFCCC COP28 climate summit, frontline communities, youth, and civil society are planning to confront the Biden-Harris administration’s oil and gas expansion and urging a rapid fossil fuel phaseout. 

Activities on Saturday, December 2, 2023

Photo Opportunity with U.S. Youth and Frontline Advocates
Time: 8:30am local time (GMT+4)
Location: U.S. Center at COP28, Building 59, Zone B5, Blue Zone

As United States leaders gather for a high-level opening event at the United States Center at COP28, youth and frontline advocates will be available for photos and interviews. 

Press Conference: Community Leaders Urge the United States to End Fossil Fuels and Deliver Environmental Justice
Time: 12:30-1:00pm local time (GMT+4)
Location: Press Conference Room 2, Building 77, Zone B6, COP28 Blue Zone
Webcast: https://unfccc.int/event/oil-change-international-8

Youth, frontline, and civil society speakers will spotlight the urgent need for the Biden administration to go beyond the flawed Inflation Reduction Act and take bold measures to align with international climate objectives and address environmental injustice issues head-on. It is imperative for the United States to stop fossil fuel exports, halt approval of new fossil fuel infrastructure projects, and phase out fossil fuel production on federal lands and waters.

Speakers

  • Jean Su, Center for Biological Diversity
  • Betamia Coronel, Center for Popular Democracy
  • Kelsey Crane, Earthworks
  • Allie Rosentbluth, Oil Change International
  • John Beard, Port Arthur Community Action Network

Event: Building a Clean and Equitable Global Economy with the Inflation Reduction Act
Time: 3:00-4:00pm local time (GMT+4)
Location: U.S. Center at COP28, Building 59, Zone B5, COP28 Blue Zone
Webcast: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheUSCenter

Overview

As the world’s largest oil and gas producer and expander and largest gas exporter, as well as one of the world’s richest and most diversified economies, the United States must take a global leadership role in phasing out fossil fuels. 

Over the next decade, the United States is planning the world’s largest expansion in oil and gas production. This year alone, President Biden approved the Willow oil project in Alaska and multiple LNG export facilities, greenlit almost $2 billion in public finance for fossil fuel infrastructure abroad, and threw his support behind the Mountain Valley fracked gas pipeline. 

Additionally, President Biden’s flagship bill, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), fails to reduce fossil fuel production or alleviate impact on environmental justice communities, according to a new briefing by Oil Change International. Fossil fuel projects approved by the Biden administration threaten to erase the climate emissions progress from the Inflation Reduction Act and other climate policies, according to a new analysis by the Center for Biological Diversity.

These facts not only make a mockery of the IRA’s label as a “climate bill” and President Biden’s claims of “climate leadership,” but signal that without action to constrain oil and gas production, the suffering of oil and gas frontline communities will only grow. Black, Brown, Indigenous, and poor communities, especially in Appalachia, the Gulf Coast, and the Permian Basin, are disproportionately impacted by fossil fuel pollution, climate disasters, and health crises. 

Statements

John Beard, Founder & Chief Executive Officer at Port Arthur Community Action Network:
“In sacrifice communities like mine in Port Arthur, Texas, we know the difference between real action and empty talk. The Biden administration must understand that a true energy transition cannot include permitting, leasing, and exporting fossil fuels. What the Gulf South needs is a phaseout of fossil fuels and a just transition to clean, green and renewable energy. It is truly a matter of life and breath.” 

Keanu Arpels-Josiah, 18-year-old organizer at Fridays For Future NYC and of the March to End Fossil Fuels:
“This is the hottest year on record and yet the coolest one for the rest of our generation’s lives. The United States remains the lead expander of fossil fuels worldwide. Despite this, President Biden — our so-called “climate president” — is ignoring the calls of the youth that elected him and the science and skipping COP28 whilst green-lighting historic fossil fuel expansion. This needs to end. Renewable energy means nothing without an end to fossil fuels production and to expansion. President Biden must listen to the people and bring an end to fossil fuels.” 

Beta Coronel, Senior Climate Justice Organizer at Center for Popular Democracy, said:
“President Biden missing from arguably the most important COP negotiations of his presidency is a clear indication that he continues to fall short on his promises of being the climate president. Frontline communities in the United States and in the global south continue to pay the price for the continued reckless expansion of fossil fuels with record-breaking, life-threatening heat, devastating super storms, and cancer-causing pollution from extraction. 

“Fossil fuels have never had as explicit a role in climate negotiations as during COP28 and more than ever we need world leaders, and in particular the US, to stand up to an industry hell bent on barreling past the 1.5ºC mark we know is critical for sustainable life on earth.” 

Jean Su, Energy Justice Director at the Center for Biological Diversity:
“This COP needs to be where the Biden administration calls a halt to the United States’ ever-expanding oil and gas production. This administration can’t call out climate villains on the world stage when it continues to approve mega-polluting new projects at home. No amount of investment in renewables will protect people and wildlife from climate catastrophe without strong measures now to phase out planet-heating fossil fuel production and exports.” 

Kelsey Crane, Senior Policy Advocate at Earthworks:
“Without an end to fossil fuel expansion, the United States will fall short of what’s needed to avert climate disaster. With dozens of oil and gas export facilities awaiting federal approval along the U.S. Gulf Coast — the largest fossil fuel buildout anywhere in the world — President Biden is abandoning his pledge for bold climate action and racial justice. 

“It’s past time for President Biden to step up and lead the fossil fuel phaseout. He can do that by immediately declaring a climate emergency, reinstating the crude export ban, and denying new permits for fossil fuel infrastructure.” 

Allie Rosenbluth, United States Campaign Manager at Oil Change International:
“The Biden-Harris administration has a decision to make at COP28: Will the U.S. stand on the right side of history in calling for a full phaseout of fossil fuels, or will they continue to obstruct progress on climate action? At home, the Biden-Harris administration has fallen short. It touts the Inflation Reduction Act as a centerpiece of its achievements on climate, when in reality the bill leaves a massive escape hatch for the fossil fuel industry to continue business as usual. Our new data shows the Inflation Reduction Act and existing policies will fall significantly short of achieving the United States’ stated Paris Agreement goal. 

“To align with global climate goals, President Biden must phase out the export of oil and gas, end fossil fuel leasing on federal lands, and stop all approvals for new fossil fuel infrastructure projects. The clock is ticking on President Biden’s reelection, and ending fossil fuels is a top issue for many potential voters. He can still make things right by leading a swift and just transition off fossil fuels in the United States and globally.” 

 

 

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